The project aims to boost economic growth and stimulate sustainable job creation in Causeni and throughout SE Moldova. To this end, a smart, energy-effective, multi-functional cool storage will be provided to the communities of Causeni of Moldova. The facility will allow local farmers and agro-entrepreneurs to cool, store and pack their produce, accessing the markets and customers, adding to their income and its sustainability. The project is financed by the European Union – EuropeAid Programme, under Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) facility. Development Policy Foundation designed and developed the project idea and stands as a chief know-how provider.

Smallholders in Moldova are stuck in a low-income vicious circle. Due to the lack of access to storing and packing facilities for fruit and vegetables, the choice of crops they can grow is highly limited to the most durable ones – such as stone fruit – which turn low profit when cultivated on a small scale. As such, the smallholders have no financial means to create proper cooling and storing infrastructure that would allow them to diversify their agricultural output.

The project aims to break this cycle, by introducing a smart fruit and vegetable cooling infrastructure, accessible to farmers in Causeni. It will allow storing conditions to be adjusted for individual types of produce, providing the local farmers and smallholders with the opportunity to turn to more profitable, labour-intensive crops such as asparagus, niche green vegetables or berries. The cool storage will be highly energy-efficient, due to the use of PVs and energy buffers inter alia. Additionally, the facility includes equipment for packing on the spot, directly contributing to income diversification.